As the high-net-worth seek out new wealth managers, how do you retain clients and capture money-in-motion?

Wealth management relationships with high-net-worth individuals are not as sticky as once believed.

Many high-net-worth investors are reconsidering their wealth management relationships as they seek personalized experiences, increased access to products and services, and improved digital capabilities to meet changing needs and expectations.

Our recent research of high-net-worth investors in the United States found nearly half (46%) are planning to change wealth management providers or add new wealth management relationships in the next 12 to 24 months, or both. Over the past three years, 39% of respondents said they had already switched and/or established an additional relationship. Our research shows that this switching is more pronounced among high-net-worth investors under 55 years old, particularly those aged 18 to 34.

Why high-net-worth investors may switch

A notable number of investors who made a change in the last three years cited unmet needs as the primary reason they sought new or additional providers.

Firms that can curate a tailored ecosystem of products and services — digitally-enabled and personalized to key client segment needs — will likely be better positioned to both retain current clients and acquire new ones who are seeking a change. In this environment, firms need to focus on both protecting their business and capturing money-in-motion.

Why investors switched advisors

Previous advisor’s inability to support client’s changing financial circumstances
Desire for access to different products and services
Improved digital capabilities

PwC HNW Investor Survey 2022

Expand service offerings to deepen relationships

In our survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they receive “value add” services from their primary provider. Among ultra-high-net-worth individuals — who are characterized as having more than $10 million in investable assets, with preferences for receiving specialized lending, business banking, succession planning and concierge services from a single source — that trend is even more prevalent (89%).

Many high-net-worth investors told us they’re interested in receiving “wealth management adjacent” services — including tax planning, trust and estate planning and health or elder care services — from their primary advisors. But many respondents also shared that their primary advisors don’t offer those services.

Firms should also anticipate and assess client servicing needs across key high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth personas, including entrepreneurs, business owners and legacy beneficiaries. In our survey, 41% of respondents noted their primary source of investable assets stemmed from income from business ownership or sale of a business, while 33% indicated that the source had been inheritance or trust. Though the makeup of each client base varies, firms should consider including business succession and multi-generational family planning as part of their offering as these services appear to be in high demand among this key demographic.

Additionally, just over half (51%) of the high-net-worth respondents indicated they hold restricted stock units (RSUs) and/or stock options from their employer. Equity compensation planning is increasingly a key differentiator for high-net-worth investors with awards, especially for a growing contingent of “new tech money,” which could provide firms a significant opportunity to capture investors in the accumulation phase of their careers.

Your firm can institute a number of steps to take advantage of this sentiment:

From vesting schedule analysis to concentrated position diversification, equity compensation planning requires a nuanced understanding of equity awards and tax implications. Respondents who hold RSUs and stock options are also more open to switching wealth management providers (56%) compared to the overall population, signaling a desire for a more tailored approach than they’re receiving from their incumbent provider.

In this environment, wirehouses and large firms can benefit from their ability to offer a broad range of services to clients with relative scale. Smaller practices will likely need to rely on outsourcing, collaborating or integrating external value-added service providers or (at minimum) offer asset aggregation to certain clients.

What high-net-worth investors are looking for

% of high-net-worth

Tax Planning
Trust and Estate Planning
Health/elder care

PwC HNW Investor Survey 2022

Establish wealth management adjacent planning services, including tax planning and trust and estate planning capabilities, to attract and retain wealth accumulators.

Establish hyper-tailored product and service offerings to evolving “microsegments,” including offerings tailored to entrepreneurs (e.g., succession planning, business banking, lending) and new tech money (including restricted stock unit and stock option holders) to further differentiate in the market.

“Given our high-net-worth investor data, we recommend wealth managers focus on building targeted service offerings, expanding their product shelves and curating personalized, digital experiences to retain clients and capture money-in-motion.”

Roland Kastoun Asset and Wealth Management Consulting Solutions Leader, PwC U.S.

Embrace non-traditional assets

While doubts persist about the wealth-building power of alternatives, cryptocurrency and ESG issues, high-net-worth investors say they want to increase their allocation to them even if that means going outside of their primary advisory relationship. Firms that can provide product access and support adoption are positioned to capitalize on a significant net new asset opportunity.

Lack of product access has been cited as a key source of client attrition, with over a quarter (27%) of the respondents who have made a change in the last three years indicating that they did so because their new provider offered access to different products and services.

In addition to product access, one way firms can solidify their alternatives product offering is by training their advisors to discuss non-traditional products and demonstrate potential impacts to client portfolios — especially for their upper-tier clients ($5 million to $10 million and over in assets), who are most inclined to invest in alternatives, and investors aged 18 to 34 who are most interested in cryptocurrency and ESG products.

Wealth managers who can offer a robust product shelf with lower asset minimums, investment thought leadership and aggregated reporting capabilities are often well positioned to capture held-away alternative assets.

Here are several other steps you can take to retain and attract customers through alternatives:

High-net-worth individuals are going outside of their primary wealth management relationships to invest in non-traditional assets


PwC HNW Investor Survey 2022

Invest in a robust alternatives platform to enable access to alternative and digital assets, strategies, analytics and off-the-shelf educational content.

Develop or purchase research for non-traditional products to incorporate as part of client conversations or ongoing client communications (e.g., newsletters, email campaigns and events).

Implement advisor training, workshops, and certifications for advisors to enable client discussions on asset outlook, performance and portfolio impact. These are critical to demonstrating value and supporting clients in “making the leap.”

Enable advisors to provide tailored recommendations aligned to risk tolerance and investment strategy, and provide the tools to demonstrate the impact of non-traditional assets on client portfolios. Prepare advisors to discuss non-traditional products, especially among ultra-high-net-worth clients and those aged 18 to 44, as they have the highest propensity to invest.

Enhance personalization

In our 2022 trends report, Next In Asset and Wealth Management, we found that personalization of products and services is a key factor in attracting and retaining clients. This trend was confirmed by our high-net-worth investor survey, in which two-thirds said they want more personalization in their wealth management relationships, particularly in financial planning and investment strategy. Only a third of the respondents told us they’re satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive.

Beyond basic client demographics and investment goals, advisors should understand their clients’ behaviors, propensities and attitudes in relation to their careers, lifestyles and family dynamics to inform planning and investment conversations.

Your firm should consider a number of steps to enhance the level of personalization you provide to your clients:

Deploy single-instance CRM capabilities that integrate with downstream advisor tools and resources for improved ingestion and synthesis of advisor notes, changes in client situation and portfolio activity.

Enable advisors to curate and deliver data-driven insights through the advisor desktop, portfolio management and financial planning platforms.

Encourage advisors to leverage a behavioral approach when engaging with clients — leveraging psychographic and demographic inputs from systems of engagement in addition to investment systems of record — to better align their investment strategy with their goals and lifestyle preferences.

Establishing “next best actions” capabilities for moments that matter across life stages for high-net-worth clients, prompting advisors to reach out or automatically triggering communications for key events.

Expanding your digital footprint

Virtual meetings and digital account experiences are here to stay even as the pandemic fades. Across the wealth value chain, most respondents in our survey preferred conducting financial planning, ongoing advice delivery and other services remotely with an advisor. For transactional activities, such as account openings and maintenance, most prefer digital self-directed experiences.

Our research shows only 1 in 5 prefer in-person meetings as the primary form of communication with their advisor. What’s more, only a quarter of respondents indicated that they regularly hold in-person meetings.

Advisors must be digitally-enabled, as cohesive digital experiences will become a core differentiator in the industry.

Having robust digital capabilities may also help you attract and retain high-net-worth individuals who are new to investing. Of our survey respondents across multiple generations, those aged 18 to 34 said they prioritize digital capabilities when selecting a wealth management provider, ranking quality of online and digital services as their number one priority, just above investment performance and quality of advisor. High-net-worth individuals in this population also indicated they are “very comfortable” (59%) with hybrid advice delivery — that is, engaging remotely with a pool of financial advisors rather than a single, dedicated advisor.

Here are several steps you can take to help your firm adapt to your clients’ growing preferences for digital:

Preferred channels of communication with wealth management provider

Phone or video call
Mobile app or chat (e.g., web, SMS)

Reassess your branch-driven model and consider optimizing your physical footprint in favor of an alternate virtual service delivery model.

Improve existing virtual collaboration tools and mobile capabilities to align to client meeting preferences. You should also offer a cohesive set of digital capabilities that integrate across channels (including in-person), as firms that deliver only rudimentary digital experiences risk losing out on investors aged 18 to 34.

Assess and consider opportunities to shift existing mass market and affluent digital experiences into scalable high-net-worth tailored offerings.

Explore the survey data in Customer Link

Access our high-net-worth investor survey data and unlock meaningful insights about your high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients through Customer Link, a PwC product. Our rich data fabric can improve targeting and helps you create moments that deliver on your clients’ needs to engage intelligently and build better relationships.

  • Access our data fabric to see your clients like never before: Our data fabric — a blend of proprietary and third-party sources — reveals more than 60K attributes to open up an unmatched view of your clients.
  • Deepen your understanding of the US high-net-worth population: Explore the demographics, preferences and interests of 10.2 million high-net-worth households in the United States to support go-to-market decision-making and prospecting.
  • Translate ideas into actionable insights at speed: Find the attributes you need to build targeted audiences in as little as 30 minutes, and drive richer engagement with clients and prospects.

Learn more about Customer Link

Contact us

Roland  Kastoun

Roland Kastoun

Asset and Wealth Management Consulting Solutions Leader, PwC US

Michael Horvath

Michael Horvath

Principal, PwC US

Arjun Patel

Arjun Patel

Principal, PwC US

Evan Siegal

Evan Siegal

Principal, PwC US

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